Polls Show US-Born Gimpel May Be Knesset Member
Polls continue to show more strength for the combined Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home)-Ichud Leumi (National Union) slate, giving US-born Jeremy Gimpel a good chance to become a Knesset Member.
Gimpel, who along with Ari Abramowitz founded the LandofIsrael.com movement and hosts the Tuesday Night Live television show from Jerusalem, is number 14 on the party list, by which candidates join the Knesset according to proportional representation based on the number of votes the entire party receives compared to all votes.
Two polls three weeks ago gave the combined parties’ list 15 and 16 seats, which would easily put Gimpel over the top, but surveys since then have whittled the number of mandates down to 13.
However, a Dialogue poll published in Haaretz on Wednesday awards the Jewish Home-National Union party list 14 seats.
Gimpel responded to the last months’ optimistic polls by saying, "It looks like I have a very good chance at becoming the first American born MK in decades." The last American-born MK was the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.
Regardless of whether Gimpel is elected, a native American will be in the next Knesset because Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett was born in California.
Gimpel, 32, has made a major pitch to Americans living in Israel.
He moved to Israel from Atlanta, lives in the Gush Etzion area and is an ordained rabbi and a lawyer.
The Dialog poll was good news for the Jewish Home-National Union parties, but disastrous for Kadima, which appears to be headed into oblivion.
All of the other parties’ standings in the latest poll remain constant, with the two big question marks being the Likud-Israel Beyteinu slate and the Otzma party, formed by current National Union MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, along with activist Itamar Ben-Gvir.
The Dialog poll shows Otzma receiving a shade less than the minimum number of votes needed to enter the Knesset. Many of its voters are former supporters of the National Union party, which might cost the Jewish Home list one or more seats.
The new Likud-Yisrael Beytenu party continues to lose altitude, with the Dialog poll giving it only 34 seats, compared with 42 for the two parties in the current Knesset.
Projected votes for the three major leftist-oriented parties continue show that the public is sharply divided, with Labor awarded 16 seats, Tzipi Livni’s new party with 10 seats, and nine for Yesh Atid (Future), headed by Yair Lapid.
Netanyahu will have little choice other than to include the Jewish Home-National Union MKs in his coalition. Otherwise, he would have to from a government only with the center-left parties, a virtual impossibility considering their different agenda and demands, or with the Shas and Degel Hatorah hareidi-religious parties, also an improbability, considering Israel Beyteinu’s platform and its representation in the Likud.